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- none known





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Barabas

Company: Rocking Horse

Catalog: RHR 5513

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): NM/NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5906

Price: $100.00


Maybe due to the fact not much is known about it, the Rocking Horse Records label is one of my favorite tax scam imprints.  So from the outside this obscure 1977 release seemed to be pretty typical for the genre - throwaway artwork, no writing, production, or performance credits. I couldn't even find an online reference to this one.  Judging by the cover I was expecting something along the lines of a throwaway collection of disco material.  Back to that old adage 'never judge a book by its cover ...'


Two thirds of the set (four out of six tracks) showcased conventional hard rock. That description wasn't meant as a slam since tracks like 'Wild One' and 'Funk Village' were better than a lot of stuff being pushed by far better known mid-1970s rock entities.  So what about the two other tracks?  Well, in typical tax scam fashion, the instrumentals 'Shakedown' and 'Keyboard Impressions' were so different from the rest of the set that you were left wondering if they'd been recorded by other acts and slapped onto this set to extend the running time.  


"Barabas" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Wild One - 5:27

Kicked along by some tasty fuzz guitar and frenetic drumming, 'Wild One' started the album off with a surprisingly accomplished slice of bluesy-hard rock moves.  Nothing particularly original (okay the mid-section jazzy scat segment was totally unexpected), but perhaps because it was so unexpected, the results were quite enjoyable.  I can think of dozens of name hard rock bands that couldn't match this one for enthusiasm.  rating: **** stars

2.) Train Man - 4:14

'Train Man' rocked even harder than the opener.  Again, there wasn't a single original note here, but these guys went through the moves with considerable energy.  As for the anonymous singer, well he was actually quite good.  I could swear I've heard the voice somewhere, but I've never been able to place it.  rating: **** stars

3.) Shakedown  (instrumental) - 8:19

For all intents and purposes the instrumental 'Shakedown' could have been recorded by a different band.  Musically the extended piece had a distinctive Latin flavor - lots of percussion; almost funky.  This was actually what I expected the entire album to sound like.  Not bad, though it seemed to go on forever and was hardly as impressive as the two previous rockers.  rating: ** stars


(side 2)
1.) Funk Village - 2:48

In spite of what was shown on the liner notes, side two started out with the album's best performance - the taunt rocker 'Funk Village'.  A killer track with an instantly memorable melody, great lead guitar, and the kind of harmony vocals Grand Funk could never get their voices around ...  Not sure what the weird tape slicing at the end of the song was about, but the result was still a fantastic song.   rating: **** stars

2.) Keyboard Impressions (instrumental) - 7:14

Well, the instrumental 'Keyboard Impressions' was one of those rare cases of truth-in-advertising.  As the title implied, what you got were seven minutes of pretty, but ultimately forgettable piano moves.  Well, technically there was a little more to the song.  About five minutes in the piano was joined by some percussion and sound effects.  The song could have been an early demo ...  who knows.   rating: ** stars

3.) Free Design (instrumental) - 4:41

The instrumental 'Free Design' found the band returning to more conventional hard rock moves.  With kind of a Southern rock feel to it (think something along the lines of a good 38 Special track), this one really did sound like a rough demo waiting for a vocal track to be added.  Nice bass throughout.   rating: ** stars


Not quite a classic tax scam release, but quite interesting and enjoyable and certainly rare.  Good luck finding a copy of this one.  I couldn't even find a sales reference on the Popsike site.



SRB 12/2209